Benjamin Carter Hett: Professors are perfect scapegoats for politicians

Benjamin Carter Hett: Professors are perfect scapegoats for politicians

On Nov. 2, J.D. Vance, author of the bestselling “Hillbilly Elegy” and now candidate for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, gave a keynote speech at the National Conservatism Conference titled “The Universities Are the Enemy.” In the speech, he told his audience: “I think in this movement of national conservatism, what we need more than inspiration is wisdom. And there is a wisdom in what Richard Nixon said approximately 40, 50 years ago. He said, and I quote: ‘The professors are the enemy.’” Nixon actually said these words to his then-national security adviser, the Harvard professor Henry Kissinger. He added, in a professorial flourish, “Write that on a blackboard 100 times and never forget it.” This hatred of professors and their universities seems to be a big deal for Mr. Vance. On his campaign website, under the heading “Protect Conservative Values,” he complains that “hundreds of billions of American tax dollars” get sent to universities that “teach that America is an evil, racist nation.” These universities “then train teachers who bring that indoctrination into our elementary and high schools.” He doesn’t want any tax dollars going to institutions that teach “critical race theory or radical gender ideology.” Instead, he wants them to deliver “an honest, patriotic account of American history.” Other sections of the website extol the glories of the Second Amendment, while ranting about immigrants and COVID-19 regulations. Mr. Vance’s complaint is at least as old as the trial of Socrates in the Athens of 399 BC. Socrates […]

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